Welcome to a blog post about Jason Isbell. This will be kinda short and it will kick off with some “stipulations.”
Stipulation I: Luna is the best “active” band, and “Malibu Love Nest” is their best song.
Stipulation II: Craig Finn is the the best active rock star, and the live version of “Killer Parties” on A Positive Rage best exemplifies this.
Stipulation III: Jason Isbell is the best active songwriter, and “Different Days” is his best song.
Suggestion I: I don’t know who the greatest band of all time is. There are a lot of options. The Beatles is not the right answer.
Suggestion II: Mick Jagger is the greatest frontman of all time, although Chuck Berry is still the purest rock star that will probably ever be (man I would love to play the keyboard like the dude in this video!)
We shall explore all the above stipulations at some later date. Today we are looking at Isbell. Today on the Periscope there we said we might do a post here about “Different Days.” Well, that’s going to be a little too much work for today. So instead we’ll do a little top five. These are not necessarily my favorite 5 songs from Jason, but pretty much. So, “in no particular order”:
I. “Danko/ Manuel,” from The Dirty South. 2003. On the Periscope I was a little inaccurate–Isbell was 24-25 when he wrote this one. It’s about the band The Band, and about emulating one’s heroes and the pros and cons of that action.
First they make you out to be/ the only pirate on the sea/ they say Danko would have sounded just like me/ “Is that the man you want to be?”
II. “Goddam Lonely Love” also from The Dirty South. 2003.
So I’ll take two of what you’re having and I’ll take all of what you got/
to kill this goddamn lonely, goddamn lonely love
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before/ a man walks into a bar and leaves before his ashes hit the floor/ stop me if I ever get that far/ the sun’s a desperate star that burns like every single one before
Dude was 25 years old.